FAQ categories:

Questions about the program

What is a Small Business Ventilation Grant?

Small Business Ventilation Grants provide matched grants of $1000 to $5000. Public-facing businesses with employees can invest in equipment, building works and services that improve ventilation and air filtration in areas of their business that are accessible to customers to help reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission and improve customer confidence.

How much is the grant?

Grant funding of up to $5000 per premises is available for eligible projects.

Applicants can request a grant amount of between $1000 and $5000 to cover part of the costs of an eligible ventilation project.

For every $1 of grant funding, the applicant must show $1 of expenditure of their own funds. This means a business must spend a minimum of $1000 of their own funds on an eligible project to receive a $1000 government grant, and the total project must cost at least $2000.

How many applications can I submit under the program?

A business that operates more than one premises under its ABN may apply for a grant for each separate location. A separate application is required for each premises.

Each location must be a Victorian fixed address commercial premises that is physically open to the public for in-person purchase or use of the business’s products and services.

A business (as defined by its ABN) can only receive one grant per premises.

Can I also apply for a Small Business Ventilation Rebate?

Yes, a business can apply for both a Small Business Ventilation Rebate and Ventilation Grant. The submitted applications can request funds for the same ventilation project, however the funds must not be allocated to the same eligible expenditure item. You should check your eligibility for both before deciding to apply.

Questions about eligibility

Who is eligible for a Ventilation Grant?

To be eligible for a grant a business must:

  • operate from a Victorian fixed address commercial premises that is physically open to the public for in-person purchases or the use of the business’s products and services
  • hold an active Australian Business Number (ABN) and have held that ABN on and from 18 February 2022
  • be registered with the responsible Federal or State regulator1
  • be registered for Goods and Services Tax (GST) on and from 18 February 2022
  • have annual Victorian payroll below $10 million for the 2020-21 financial year on an ungrouped basis as determined by the State Revenue Office (SRO)
  • be registered with WorkSafe Victoria.
  • hold public liability insurance sufficient to cover its operations.

Tenants wishing to apply must ensure that they obtain any consent where necessary from their landlord before undertaking work.

I am a landlord, can I apply for a Ventilation Grant?

Small Business Ventilation Grants are intended to directly support public-facing businesses, who are generally tenants or owner-occupiers of a fixed Victorian commercial premises. Landlords can apply on behalf of the public-facing business (i.e. tenant) if the landlord meets the eligibility criteria of either stream of the program.

Can I apply for a Ventilation Grant if I received a grant through another COVID-19 business support program?

Yes, you can apply for a Small Business Ventilation Grant if you have received a grant through another COVID-19 business support program.

Am I required to be registered for GST?

You must be registered for Goods and Services Tax (GST) on and from 18 February 2022.

A business must register for GST when it has a GST turnover (gross income minus GST) of $75,000 or more.

Businesses that backdate their GST registration date will not be eligible.

Not-for-profit entities with annual turnover between $75,000 and $150,000, which are not registered for GST and are registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profit Commission are eligible to apply.

Businesses with annual 2020-2021 turnover of $75,000 or more that are not required by relevant taxation legislation to be registered for GST are eligible to apply, subject to provision of a statutory declaration from a registered tax agent.

More information on whether you need to register for GST is available on the Australian Taxation Office website.

Questions about evidence and documentation

What is evidence of eligible expenditure?

To receive funding, the applicant must provide evidence of eligible expenditure for at least $2000.

As part of the application, the applicant must provide an appropriate ventilation project proposal (and quote if applicable) if the expenditure has not yet occurred or the evidence of eligible expenditure if the item has already been purchased.

For eligible expenditure item/s already purchased (from 1 January 2022), evidence includes:

  • an invoice or receipt paid in full clearly specifying the date, cost, supplier name and invoice number for an eligible expenditure item. (i.e. air purifier). Tax invoices must clearly include the required information as described on the Australian Taxation Office website.

For eligible expenditure item/s that have not yet been purchased, you must: provide a ventilation project proposal with estimation of total project cost. If available, a quote can be provided to support the proposal. If successful, you will be sent a claim form at a later date to provide evidence of eligible expenditure.

If my ventilation project proposal is successful, how do I provide evidence that I have spent funds on eligible expenditure items?

Applicants who have been notified that they have been successful for a grant will receive a claim form to upload evidence that they have spent funds on eligible expenditure items.

Eligible expenditure items must have been purchased between 1 January 2022 to 15 November 2022.

Applicants will be required to provide an invoice or receipt paid in full clearly specifying the date, cost, supplier name and invoice number for an eligible expenditure item (i.e. air purifier). The invoice must be made out to your business or the authorised contact of your business. Tax invoices must clearly include the required information as described on the Australian Taxation Office website

The grant will only be paid by the Department of Jobs, Precints and Regions (the Department) once evidence of eligible expenditure is submitted.

Which identification documents should I submit with my application?

The business owner or an authorised person for your business can apply for a grant on behalf of the business. This individual must be listed on the Australian Business Register (ABR) as either the owner, co-owner, associate or authorised contact of your business.

To confirm the identity of you as the business owner or authorised person as listed on the ABR, one of the following current proof of identity documents must be provided:

  • a driver license or learner permit issued in any Australian jurisdiction
  • an Australian Passport
  • a Medicare Card
  • a foreign passport for those issued with an Australian Visa.

I’ve received notification that my identification check has returned an invalid result or could not be validated. How do I update my proof of identity?

Update your contact details by following the steps outlined in our Proof of Identity Verification User Guide.

Download a copy of these instructions: Updating Proof of Identity Details in Grant Hub forms (PDF 633.93 KB)PDF icon

How do I provide evidence that my business is public-facing?

You will be required to attest that your business operates from a Victorian fixed address commercial premises that is physically open to the public for in-person purchases or the use of your business’s products and services.

You will also be required to provide the business address’ Standard Parcel Identifier (SPI) in your application form. The SPI is a shorthand way to describe a parcel and can be found by using the search tool at https://www.land.vic.gov.au/property-and-parcel-search.

Once you have selected your business address using the search tool, the SPI can be found under the “Property details” section.

The Department may also undertake further background checks to confirm your business is public-facing.

The Department may follow-up with the applicant if additional information is required on your business’ public-facing activities and proposed ventilation improvements.

Do I need to provide evidence that my business has an annual Victorian payroll of below $10 million for the 2020-21 financial year?

On your application form, you must confirm that you have an annual Victorian payroll of below $10 million for the 2020-21 financial year on an ungrouped basis. The Department will check the payroll status with the State Revenue Office (SRO).

How do I provide evidence that my business is registered with WorkSafe Victoria?

If you are an employing business, include your unique WorkCover Employer Number (WEN) on your application.

Your WEN can be found on the top right-hand corner of your 2020-21 invoice from WorkSafe Victoria. Your WEN is also printed on your WorkSafe Certificate of Currency. You do not need to provide your certificate of currency when applying for this grant.

If you have only recently applied to be registered with WorkSafe and do not have a WEN, please provide the WorkSafe Application Reference Number (WRN) instead.

Questions about regulators

What Commonwealth and Victorian regulators does my business need to be registered with?

For the purposes of this program, businesses are defined by their ABN. The business name associated with your ABN must be registered with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) before the application submission.

In the case of a social enterprise, it may be registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC).

In the case of an incorporated association, it must be registered with Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV).

Businesses must ensure their registration is current before submitting their application. If your business is not registered when you apply, it will not be eligible to receive a grant.

An adverse finding by a Commonwealth or Victorian regulator is also considered when processing grant applications.

How do I register with the relevant Commonwealth or Victorian regulator?

Questions about the application process

Who can apply?

The business owner or an authorised person for your business can apply for a rebate on behalf of the business. The applicant must be listed on the Australian Business Register (ABR) as either the owner, co-owner, associate or authorised contact of the business.

Others, such as an accountant, can apply on behalf of your business as long as they are listed on the ABR as an authorised contact for the business applying.

How do I apply?

Applications must be submitted online via the Small Business Ventilation Program – Ventilation Grant page. All questions in the application need to be completed and requested information provided to ensure timely assessment and grant payment.

How are applications assessed?

Funding will be allocated through a grant application process on a first-in, first-served basis.

Each application will be carefully considered and assessed against the eligibility criteria and program guidelines.

The following circumstances are considered when assessing applications:

  • any adverse findings by a government agency or local council regarding a business or its operation
  • a business is, or notice has been given that it will be, placed under external administration
  • a petition for bankruptcy or to wind up or deregister a company or business
  • the business is or becomes deregistered or unregistered (including cancellation or lapse in registration or any relevant permit).

Only final applications that are lodged with the Department will be considered and assessed. Applications in draft stage will not be considered.

The Department’s decisions on all matters pertaining to the award of funding under this program is at the Department’s absolute discretion.

What is the status of my application?

The status of your application will appear in the Business Victoria Grants Portal as one of the following:

  • draft – you have started an application
  • submitted – you have accepted the terms and conditions and submitted
  • under assessment – your application has been received and is being assessed by the Business Victoria team
  • successful – your application was successful
  • unsuccessful – your application was unsuccessful.

From the time you submit your application, the Department will endeavour to provide you with notifications on the progress of your application.

Please note, we cannot assess your application while it remains in ‘draft’.

When will I be notified of an outcome?

We will endeavour to process your application and notify you of its outcome within 30 business days of receiving a completed application.

For the purposes of this program, business days are Monday to Friday, excluding public holidays.

If you submit the application yourself, you will be notified directly.  If somebody else applies on your behalf, they will be notified of the outcome of your application.

It may take longer to notify you of an outcome if your application:

  • does not meet all the eligibility criteria
  • does not have correct evidence or documentation
  • requires you to make changes
  • is a duplicate application for the same premises
  • has incorrect information, such as ABN or bank details (for successful applicants)
  • does not include current or accurate information registered with relevant regulators or partner agencies, such as the State Revenue Office or Australian Business Register.

My application was unsuccessful. Can I appeal the decision?

If your application was unsuccessful and you believe that it has been incorrectly assessed, you are able to lodge a complaint. More information on the complaints process and form can be found at https://business.vic.gov.au/contact-us/complaints.

Will I be subject to an audit?

Applicants may be subject to audit by the Victorian Government or its representatives for a period of one year from receipt of payment.

You are required to keep the evidence of how the grant payment was spent.

If any information in the application is found to be false or misleading, or the grant payment is not applied for the purposes of your business in accordance with the terms of funding as set out in these guidelines and the application, the grant payment will be repayable on demand.

Questions about eligible ventilation projects

How much are the grant payments?

Funding of up to $5000 per premises is available for eligible projects.

Applicants can request a grant amount of between $1000 and up to $5000 to cover part of the costs of their ventilation project.

The ventilation project must cost at least the grant amount with the same amount contributed by the applicant. This means that for every $1 of grant funding, the applicant must show $1 of expenditure of their own funds. For example, a business must expend a minimum of $1000 on eligible expenditure to receive a $1000 government grant. The total ventilation project cost must therefore be at least $2000.

Grants will be allocated on a first-in, first-served basis to applicants assessed as eligible until the close date or the available funding is fully allocated.

When and how will the grant be paid?

If your application is successful the grant will be paid into the bank account you nominated on the application form.

The grant will be deposited into your nominated bank account only when the Department receives acceptable evidence of eligible expenditure.

If you have been notified that you are successful under the program and you:

  1. supplied evidence of eligible project expenditure to the satisfaction of the Department at the time of application - the Department will automatically deposit the grant into your account. Or,
  2. supplied a ventilation project proposal with estimations of eligible expenditure item costs at the time of application – you will only be paid your grant upon submission of evidence of eligible expenditure. The Department will send you a claim form link to upload evidence by 15 November 2022 to enable payment of the grant.

Depending on your bank, it may take up to five business days for the payment to reach your account.

How can I use the funds?

The grant may be used for part of the cost of eligible expenditure items.

If the grant payment cannot be used for the eligible expenditure nominated originally in your ventilation project proposal, the grant payment may be used to pay for other items of eligible expenditure.

The funds may be used to assist with:

  • equipment and works that improve air ventilation and/or purification for the installation, upgrade, maintenance and repair of building infrastructure and ventilation systems.
  • direct costs to deliver the ventilation project such as labour, regulatory approvals or cost of building modification directly related to and required to accommodate the ventilation strategy.

Your business must comply with all relevant laws and obtain all planning, environmental, regulatory and other approvals and permits (as applicable) related to the improvements undertaken in connection with the rebate assistance, including meeting all relevant health and safety and building standards.

If your business is a tenant of the relevant premises, any necessary approvals from the landlord must be obtained.

What are examples of eligible expenditure items?

In deciding on the type of ventilation improvement, please refer to the guidance material available at www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/ventilation. You may choose to engage the advice of a professional to inform your decision and preferred approach based on your unique business activities and requirements.

The types of expenditure items that you may choose include:

Natural ventilation

  • Works to the building to maximise ventilation, for example fixing windows to ensure they open or adding additional windows or doors to create greater air flow.

Mechanical ventilation

  • Purchase and installation of spare parts to ensure the existing ventilation system operates effectively.
  • Upgrading or replacing filters in a ventilation system, such as installing a HEPA filter capable of 4-6 Air Changes per hour (ACH).
  • Repairs, servicing or cleaning of an existing heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system or air conditioning unit.

Augmented ventilation

  • Purchasing an air purifier using a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter for the premises.

Other measures

  • Inspection by a qualified professional service provider for the purpose of a ventilation audit, HVAC health check or assistance with items identified in the self-assessment ventilation guidance.
  • Whirlybirds or extractor fans to enhance the effects of other ventilation strategies.
  • Electric fans to promote air movement if there are existing ventilation strategies in place
  • Wall mounted split systems and cassette units that do not have a function to bring fresh air into a space are only eligible if they are used in conjunction with other natural and mechanical ventilation.

How do I determine what ventilation improvements need to be made to my business premises?

For information on how to improve ventilation in the workplace visit the Victorian Government’s Coronavirus website and access the Small Business Ventilation Guide.

Read the Ventilation principles and strategies to reduce aerosol transmission for more guidance.

Applicants are encouraged to read this guidance before applying. Business owners must make their own judgement and take decisions about optimising air flow and ventilation appropriate for their business. This may involve seeking professional advice before committing to a purchase.

The Victorian Government is not responsible or liable for the purchasing decision of a business, nor any loss or damage whatsoever arising from or in connection with the purchase or works which are the subject of the rebate assistance.

When do I need to use the funds?

Eligible project expenditure must occur between 1 January 2022 and 15 November 2022.

Can I apply for funding for purchases made prior to launch?

Yes, you can apply for a Ventilation Grant for purchases made prior to program launch dating back to 1 January 2022. You must provide evidence (i.e. a dated invoice or receipt) of the purchase with your application form or claim form and the purchase must be listed as an eligible expenditure consistent with the program guidelines.

Is the program funding capped?

Grants will be allocated on a ‘first-in’ basis to applicants assessed as eligible until the close date or the $25m available funding is fully allocated, whichever comes first.

Examples of grant funding eligibility

Example one

A public-facing gym, employing five fitness trainers, located in Regional Victoria is on a two-year lease. They meet the business eligibility criteria of the Ventilation Grant.

Their premises has two doors, one for entry and one for exit and no windows. They can comfortably fit up to 25 clients indoors across 2 floors. Over the past few months, the business owner has been speaking with their landlord about fitting in new windows and sliding doors at the premises to help improve cross air ventilation. The landlord has formally agreed in writing to the work and the relevant building and planning approvals have been sought and obtained. Construction work has not yet been undertaken.

The gym applies to the Ventilation Grant. As part of the application, the gym provides a ventilation project proposal and estimation of total project costs of around $9000. Their application is approved, and a claim form link is sent to the gym to upload the required evidence of eligible expenditure by 15 November 2022. The gym hires contractors to install new windows on their premises which takes 2 months to complete.

Outcome

The gym uploads the required evidence including dated and paid in full invoices of eligible expenditure (including equipment, works and planning approvals related to the ventilation project). The total project cost ends up being $11,000. As all items are eligible expenditure, the maximum grant of $5000 is deposited into their nominated bank account.

Example two

Owners of a pre-loved public-facing bookshop in Melbourne’s CBD have three employees. They meet the business eligibility criteria of the Ventilation Grant. They have one door for entry and exit to the premises for customers, 2 large windows that can be opened onto the main street and one main customer service area that can comfortably fit up to 10 customers. They also have an existing heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system that brings air into the space from outside.

The bookshop undertook a ventilation audit with a certified professional which included maintenance works and a recommendation to upgrade the filter in the system to a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter (which they agreed to). The audit, maintenance works and filter upgrade cost $3000 in total.

Outcome

The bookshop applies to the Ventilation Grant and uploads a dated, paid in full invoice as evidence of eligible expenditure. Their application is successful and a $1500 grant is deposited into their nominated bank account.

Example of both grant and rebate funding eligibility

Example

A restaurant in Melbourne specialises in contemporary Australian cuisine. They meet the business eligibility criteria of the Ventilation Grant.

They own their premises, which can fit up to 50 people inside. The premises is located on the corner of a street with one entrance way, 2 windows facing the main street, and 2 windows facing the side street.

The restaurant purchased 2 portable fans on 2 January 2022 to help with the air circulation inside their premises. On 12 April 2022, they apply for the Ventilation Rebate to cover the cost of the fans and are successful in receiving a $500 rebate for their $500 total spend on eligible expenditure.

The restaurant also applies to the Ventilation Grant with a ventilation project proposal to audit and maintain their existing air conditioning system with an estimated cost of $3000.

Outcome

Their application is approved, and a claim form link is sent to the restaurant to upload the required evidence of eligible expenditure. The business hires a certified professional after receiving their successful notification to undertake the audit and maintenance works of their air conditioning system which costs $2500 in total.

The restaurant uploads the required evidence using the claim form link including dated and paid in full invoices and receipts of eligible expenditure. The restaurant receives a $1250 grant.